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RichF last won the day on August 13 2012

RichF had the most liked content!

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About RichF

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    Inner Circle

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  • guitars
    93 Studio w/ P90s,94 wraptail Studio,82 Special, various homemade Strats, homemade Tele
  • amps
    Valvetech,Reverend Kingsnake,Fender Pro Jr.
  • fx
    Budda wah,Rotosphere,Drivetrain II,Catalinbread Naga Viper, Analogman modded DS-1,Ibanez AD9,BBE Mind Bender,Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret,MXR Flanger

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    If you really loved me, you'd make me bacon.

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  1. A strap for each guitar. Never have to worry about grabbing a guitar and not having a strap.
  2. RichF

    For the Love of Seafoam

    The Firebird got a little update.
  3. RichF

    For the Love of Seafoam

    Sea Foam Green you say?
  4. RichF

    Gig bag shootout (NHC)

    The Protec is a good case. Just heavier than I want a gig bag to be.
  5. Every once in a while someone will post asking about gig bags. Since I’ve got a few and there are things about each one that I like and things that I hate I thought I’d write up a little shootout among the bags that I have/had. Before I get to the specifics let me explain how I use gig bags so you can get a better idea of my perspective. With one exception I use gig bags for Strats and Teles. I get together and jam with the band once a week, gig about once a month and move my own gear so these gig bags aren’t seeing hard or heavy use. Mostly they store my guitars. Though each bag has two shoulder straps so you can wear it like a backpack, I just sling one strap over a shoulder and go. I don’t keep much in the accessory pouches, usually just a strap, polishing cloth to wipe the guitar down, and an extra set of strings. Once in a while I’ll cram a cable or two in there, but I usually carry that kind of stuff is a separate bag. When I refer to the “carry handle” I mean the handle on the side of the bag, like the handle on a hard guitar case. When I refer to the “grab handle” I mean the handle on the back part of the neck area of the gig bag. I tend to use this quite a bit when moving the gig bag around when it’s off my shoulder and I’m getting guitars in and out. For each bag I’ll list the weight, the price paid and the results of what I call the Forester test. I drive a Forester and, while I can just fit under the hatch back when loading gear, some gig bags fit under and some don’t. That can be a pain in the butt when trying to load an amp in the back of the car and having to hunch over for the gig bag to clear the hatch. On to the gig bags. The Heavyweights Go InCase Weight: 7.75lbs Price: $160 (Used) No longer being made, but you can still find used ones out there. Mine is the Fender branded version that came with the John Mayer Strat. In my eyes this is the best looking gig bag of the bunch. Smooth teardrop design is nice and sleek. High quality and well made. Unfortunately this is also the heaviest gig bag of the bunch. It feels like the guitar is well protected in this gig bag, but it is seriously heavy. Plush lined interior with a padded neck cradle and a small zippered pouch on either side of the neck. I never used the pouches. Thick, padded carry handle. Has two sets of shoulder straps. One set that attaches high up on the neck and one set that attaches lower and allows you to use it more like a high mounted backpack. The backpack straps could be zipped up in their own pouch, but could not be removed (zipped up is how they appear in picture). The higher mounted straps could be fully removed. This is the exact opposite of what I want. I’d like to be able to remove the backpack straps to get rid of some of the weight and just use the high mount strap. The straps are nicely padded, but they are also heavily pebbled to keep them from slipping. The pebbling is so big that if you’re just wearing a T-shirt you will feel every pebble in your shoulder with the heavy weight of this gig bag. The only vertically oriented grab handle on all the gig bags. It’s stiff enough to stick out from the back, which makes it easy to grab, but not fully rigid and in the way. My favorite grab handle of all the gig bags. A very tight accessory pouch is the price you pay for that sleek outside design. The pouch is not really expandable. There’s a padded sleeve within the pouch for carrying a laptop. Anything thicker than a laptop or the strap and extra strings I carry would be tough to get inside. Using the high mounted straps it passes the Forester test easily. Using the low straps it fails miserably. Reunion Blues Continental Weight: 7.6lbs Price: $150 The gig bag that will protect your guitar should you ever decide to throw it off a roof, or so their promo videos tell you. I would not doubt that. This is probably the highest quality gig bag I own. Great materials and very well constructed. A thick and protective gig bag. Guitars feel very secure in this one. The interior has a velour-like cloth and includes a neck support block and straps to secure the neck in place. Unfortunately the block is only a few inches long and doesn’t support the full length of the neck. The straps secure with Velcro, but are too long, so you have to fold part of it back on itself to keep the neck tightly in place. The current version of this gig bag also has a pair of movable inserts that you can use to support the body and a bigger neck support and strap. The fat, soft carry handle is by far the best on any of the gig bags I have. It doesn’t really have a grab handle, just a very tight pocket that you can jam your finger tips into to grab the case. Nearly useless. Two accessory pockets. One is very slim and tight. I don’t use that one. The main accessory pouch expands a bit and holds strap, strings, cloth and cables easily. A pedal is a tight fit. You can zip up one or both of the shoulder straps into their own area if you aren’t using them. All the zipper pulls on this bag are solid and feel like they will last the life of the gig bag. Shoulder straps are padded and comfortable. They are mounted so low that the guitar winds up riding very high up when you use the shoulder straps. Fails the Forester test miserably. You will not be able to make it through a doorway without ducking. When you’re walking around with this one on your shoulder any light fixtures you need to get past are in danger, as are any low flying planes if you’re outside. ProTec Contego Weight: 7.4lbs Price: $135 Similar teardrop shape to the Go InCase, but with bigger, more usable accessory pouches. You could easily carry pedals in the accessory pouches. The interior has two small movable padded inserts. They don’t really secure to anything so I’m not sure how much good they do. Nice big neck support block with a short length strap that secures the neck in place with Velcro. This is the right length for the neck strap. Long enough to get around the neck, but no excess material to get in the way. Well-built, quality gig bag. Zippers feel solid. Zipper pulls are coated in rubber so they feel nice to the touch. This gig bag is relatively new to me so I don’t know how well they will wear with continued use. The carry handle is two pieces that can be joined together with a Velcro handle. The two piece design is nice in that it will keep things relatively secure if the zipper ever fails or if you forget to zip the gig bag. In practical use however, it’s annoying when you compare it to the one piece designs of the Mono, Reunion Blues and Go InCase handles. The handle is also mounted too low. This causes the gig bag to hang horizontally when carried, like a rectangular hard case and not with the neck end angled up like other gig bags. That means you have to lift the gig bag up extra high when going up stairs so you don’t bump the end. There is also a flap that goes over the zipper in the area underneath the carry handle that secures in place via Velcro. I guess that is to protect the zipper, but it just feels unnecessary and in the way. The grab handle is a nylon strap through a thick rubber handle. The rubber is too hard to feel good in your hand and not stiff enough to give structure to the handle. It’s wider than the natural arc that the nylon would want to take. Functional, but not a very good handle design. Shoulder straps are mounted high so this one passes the Forester test, but just barely. There is a zippered pouch that you can stow the shoulder straps in if you’re not using them. The shoulder straps have horizontal clips that will let you attach them together like a backpack. The Lightweights Levy’s CM18E Weight: 2.8lbs Price: Can’t remember The lightest gig bag I own, also the flimsiest. All the other gig bags have some amount of structure. The all stand up on their own without a guitar in them (The Mono Sleeve tips over because it’s thin, but the bag holds its shape). The Levy’s would fold over on itself. Reminds me of the Mouradian gig bag I had years ago. Soft foam with a plush lining and nylon weave outside. Guitar is loose and free inside the gig bag. The least protective gig bag of the group. Carry handle is a pair of nylon straps with plastic tubing as the cushioning. Shoulder straps are the standard nylon weave with a couple movable soft plastic pieces to help the strap grip on your shoulder. The straps mount high up on the neck so this one passes the Forester test with flying colors. Grab handle is a nylon strap that works just fine. Before gig bags started getting more like hard cases with shoulder straps this was what you would think of when you thought gig bag. Mono Sleeve Weight: 4.2lbs Price: $112 Slim and light, but it still feels like guitars are well protected. High quality materials and well made. There is much to like about this gig bag, but also many things that are strange. Carry handle and grab handle are thick enough to feel solid and secure, but are not padded. The carry handle is on the opposite side of the case compared to every other gig bag and feels unnatural. If you’re carrying it in your right hand the front of the case will be against your leg. This bag is a top loader. The zipper doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom of the guitar so you can’t lay it wide open. You have to slide the guitar in and out. This can sometimes result in pickup selector on Strats winding up in the neck position as it rubs against the gig bag going in. Padded neck cradle. This helps the guitar feel solid and secure in the gig bag. The accessory pouch is big enough to get a good amount of stuff in there, a pedal should fit, but might be a tight squeeze. There is a totally unnecessary flap that covers the accessory pouch and hooks onto a big metal hook. Even though it is on just a short bit of material and nowhere near the opening for the guitar it feels like only a matter of time before that metal clip swings around and knocks into something. The shoulder straps have horizontal clips that will let you attach them together like a backpack. It would be nice to be able to remove the clips since I’ll never use them, but not a big deal. The shoulder straps mount high enough that you won’t have to duck going through doorways, but not high enough for it to pass the Forester test. The combination of light weight, high quality, and how secure a guitar feels inside make this a very nice gig bag despite its quirks. Reunion Blues RBX Weight: 4.0lbs Price: $100 The lightweight brother to the Continental. Less structure, less padding, a little less of everything. Outer material is good, but doesn’t feel quite as durable as the material on the Continental. Interior has a slightly slicker material, with a large rectangular neck pad/cradle, but no strap to secure the neck. Guitars feel a bit loose in this gig bag. One good sized accessory pouch. You could fit quite a bit in there. Pedals might be a stretch, but would fit. The carry handle is as thick as the carry handle on the Continental, but feels more compressed and not as soft and squishy. Material also does not feel as high quality. Similar grab handle to the Continental, but a little looser so it’s easier to get your fingers underneath. One set of shoulder straps mounted a little higher. Fails the Forester test, but just barely. Zippers feel good. Zippers pulls are good, but not quite as nice as the ones on the Continental, similar to the ones on the Contego. A nice budget minded alternative to its big brother. The Exception SKB Weight: 5.2lbs Price: $85 As I wrote above, I normally wouldn’t keep a set neck/angled headstock guitar in a gig bag, but I needed a case for a Hamer Special and this is what I picked up until I could find a Hamer hard case. It’s now home to a Greco Les Paul. Set up like a typical hard case, but with a nylon gig bag wrapper. Unfortunately the nylon wrapper is where this one feels like the budget case that it is. The guitar feels as well protected as it would be in a hard case, but the nylon wrapper feels cheap. The zipper feels like it will eventually fail, not a feeling I got from any of the zippers on the other gig bags. Zipper pulls are small, thin metal and feel cheap. Not even as solid feeling as the zipper on a pair of jeans. Has an interior compartment under the neck just like in hard cases, plus two accessory pouches on the outside. You can fit a fair amount in the pouches and pedals should fit, but it would be a stretch. The carry handle is two-part nylon and can be joined with a Velcro secured wrap. Shoulder straps are padded, but just barely. They are mounted too low so this one fails the Forester test. I was very pleasantly surprised by the case-like protection, but a bit disappointed with the outer skin. It should be OK with the light use that I give it, but if the nylon started to fray or if the zipper or zipper pulls failed it wouldn’t surprise me. Losers? Winners? Conclusions? No real losers here. I think they all give a good level of quality for the price. Decisions on which one to use would come down to personal preferences. As for quality, the Reunion Blues Continental sets the standard. Excellent materials and construction. If they would fix the mounting point of the shoulder straps I might not want to own any other gig bag. Having said that though, writing this review led me to one conclusion. The Heavyweights are overkill in protection, and unnecessarily heavy, for my needs. If I had to buy another gig bag I could save a few bucks (and lighten the load on my back) by going with one of the Lightweights. I’d have a tough time deciding between the Mono Sleeve and the Reunion Blues RBX. One other conclusion: I spend far too much time thinking about gig bags.
  6. RichF

    Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown!

    Killer show opening for Blackberry Smoke on Saturday night at the House of Blues Boston. The band is tight and put on a high energy Rock (with a capital R) show. Tyler Bryant has all the makings of a rock star. He's got the looks, moves, attitude and energy that makes for an excellent front man. Graham Whitford showed his roots with a killer riff in the very first song that would easily fit on any Aerosmith record. Everyone in the band can play. Songs are good to very good, but not quite great. They just need the one undeniable song that you can't get out of your head to put them over the top. Lots of potential in an already good band.
  7. RichF

    Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown!

    I'll be seeing them in a couple days when they open for Blackberry Smoke. Looking forward to it.
  8. RichF

    1/8" shaft pot knob source?

    How about an electronics company like Digikey or Mouser? https://www.digikey.com/products/en/hardware-fasteners-accessories/knobs/568?k=knob https://www.mouser.com/Electromechanical/Knobs-Dials/_/N-5g22
  9. TonePros AVT-II intonatable wraptail bridge with locking studs. $40 shipped in the US
  10. NGD was actually the day before Thanksgiving, but I just got around to being able to take some decent pics. 96 Artist wraptail. Great condition for a 20+ year old guitar. A couple small dents and some fret wear. Came with a TonePros intonatable wraptail installed plus the stock bridge. I swapped that out for a TonePros plain wraptail. Cleaner look and a smoother feel. Appropriately pictured next to my Valvetech since I got it from valvetechamps
  11. If I ever saw my Twin Reverb for sale I would buy it back without a second thought. Too big, too loud and too heavy, but I loved playing through that amp.
  12. RichF


  13. RichF


    USA Custom body and neck. Reranch nitro finish.
  14. RichF

    I'm Such a Fanboi

    Saw them in Boston a few weeks ago. Fantastic show from beginning to end.